Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia pose before their meeting in Ankara, Turkey April 4, 2018.
(photo credit: TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Russia is hosting a meeting in Ufa this week that brings together dozens of countries to discuss security issues. In 2018 in Sochi, 118 countries participated. This year, Russia’s Tass News Agency said that a US representative may attend. Iran’s Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, is also travelling to Russia for the event.
In March, the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, Nikolai Patrushev, said that Russia is working with many countries to “build mutually beneficial terms.” The Ufa conference is supposed to work on international security between July 17-20. This includes discussions about counter-terrorism and security cooperation. Russia just returned from importance summits in Central Asia where Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his counterparts from Iran, China and other countries.
The Ufa meeting will showcase Russia’s leading role in working with countries, some of which increasingly challenge the US in various fields. Tass reported, however, that a US Security Council official will attend Ufa, even at this time of heightened tensions with Russia. Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Alexander Venediktov affirmed this in an interview Sunday. “The Americans have been skipping our forum in recent years,” he said. But he was hopeful for this year.
US participation comes in the context of a Russia, US and Israeli meeting later this month. This is important for the US and Israel for a variety of reasons, including tensions in Syria and also the US-supported Bahrain meeting on the Palestinian economy. It also comes as Russia is selling its S-400 air defense system to Turkey, as well as amid US-Iran tensions. There is not better time for US, Russian and Iranian officials to share a room, in addition to it being in the context of an upcoming meeting in Israel.
Iran’s Shamkhani traveled to Moscow, Fars News said. Shamkhani’s agenda isn’t clear beyond generalizations about “international security” and “joint political, military and security initiatives with some of the countries presently scheduled [to attend].” Iran likely wants closer relations with Russia. It sees Moscow as a key balance against the US and its sanctions. Moscow is now in a key position as well because it is balancing relations with Turkey and tensions in Syria and also issues relating to Israel. Russia has made itself indispensable in a variety of fields and the Ufa event will be used to showcase that.
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